Porsche 356 Parts
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The Porsche 356 was the company's first production automobile. It was a lightweight and nimble handling rear-engine rear-wheel-drive 2 door sports car available in hardtop and convertible configurations. Production started in 1948 and general production of the 356 continued until April 1965, well after the replacement model 911 made its autumn 1963 debut. It is estimated approximately half of the total production of 76,000 356s still survive.
The 356 was created by Ferdinand Porsche. Like its cousin, the Volkswagen Beetle (which Ferdinand Porsche Senior had designed), the 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car utilizing unitized pan and body construction. While the 356's body was an original design by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, its mechanicals (including engine, suspension and chassis) were derived from the Volkswagen. The first 356 was road certified in Austria on June 8, 1948, and used many Volkswagen parts for manufacturing economy. Quickly though, Porsche re-engineered and refined the car with a focus on performance. By the late '50s much fewer parts were shared between Volkswagen and Porsche.
Cabriolets (convertibles) were offered from the start, and in the early 1950s sometimes comprised over 50% of total production. One of the most desirable collector models is the 356 'Speedster', introduced in late 1954. With its low, raked windshield (which could be removed for weekend racing), bucket seats and minimal folding top, the Speedster was an instant hit, especially in Southern California. It was replaced in late 1958 by the 'Convertible D' model. It featured a taller, more practical windshield, glass side windows and more comfortable seats. The following year the 356B 'Roadster' convertible replaced the D model.
To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356's are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupes and 'cabriolets' (soft-top) built through 1954 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (center-creased, 1953 to 1954) windshields. In 1955, with numerous small but significant changes, the 356A was introduced. Its internal factory designation, 'Type 1,' gave rise to its nickname 'T1' among enthusiasts. In early 1957 a second revision of the 356A was produced, known as Type 2 (or T2). In late 1959 more significant styling and technical refinements gave rise to the 356B (a T5 body type)
The mid 1962 356B model was changed to the T6 body type (twin deck lid grilles, an external fuel filler in the right front fender and larger windows). A unique 'Karmann Hardtop' or 'Notchback' 356B model was produced in 1961 and 1962. The 1961 production run was essentially a cabriolet body with the optional steel cabriolet hardtop welded in place. The 1962 line (T6 production) was a very different design in that the new T6 notchback coupe body did not start life as a cabriolet, but with its own production design -- In essence, part cabriolet rear end design, part T6 coupe windshield frame, unique hard top. Both years of these unique cars have taken the name “Karmann Notchback”.
The last revision of the 356 was the 356C which was introduced for the 1964 model year. It featured disc brakes as well as an option for the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche had ever produced, the 95 hp (71 kW) 'SC.'